Commercial Truck Maintenance Checklist

Commercial Truck Maintenance Checklist

To operate a successful trucking business, your fleet drivers must perform specific tasks each day. Whether delivering items to clients or hauling freight hundreds of miles away, your drivers know what to do to ensure they complete their jobs on time. One of the best ways to help your drivers improve safety and efficiency is by creating a pre-inspection checklist.

3 Types of Maintenance Checklists

Establishing a vehicle maintenance program is essential for your commercial trucking business and can help prevent delays or interruptions in daily operations. When creating your checklists, you may wish to consider the following three fundamentals:

1. Preventative Maintenance Checklist

A preventative commercial truck maintenance plan helps your business get the most value and service out of your vehicles by anticipating and fixing issues. Ideally, a preventative maintenance plan should include manufacturer recommendations for repair timelines. Some typical items to feature on a maintenance checklist for trucks include:

  • Radiator maintenance
  • Lubrication
  • Tire rotation
  • Brake checks
  • Engine tunes
  • Filter changes
  • Oil changes

2. Demand Maintenance Checklist

Your demand maintenance plan can include fixing certain parts only when they break down or after an inspection. A typical demand maintenance plan consists of the following:

  • Replacing corroded or deteriorated parts
  • New batteries
  • New engine and transmission
  • Replacing seat cushions
  • New window glass
  • Retuning gauges
  • Replacing springs
  • Replacing light bulbs

3. Crisis Maintenance Checklist

While you may wish to avoid crisis maintenance as much as possible, it is vital to have a plan in place if a truck breaks down due to sudden equipment failure. Your crisis checklist should include factors like:

  • Any additional time needed to organize repair procedures and reroute deliveries
  • Purchasing new parts to replace damaged equipment
  • Hiring outside mechanics if needed
  • Driver downtime

Essential Items for Your Checklist

Regularly examining your fleet can prevent breakdowns and ensure that your vehicle operates securely. Your maintenance checklist form should identify all aspects of the car and include items such as:

1. Mechanical Technical Inspection

Start your inspection with these mechanical components:

  • Exhaust systems
  • Electrical system
  • Clutch
  • Body
  • Auxiliary systems
  • Belts and hoses
  • Steering system
  • Suspension system
  • Fuel level
  • Filters
  • Transmission
  • Engine

2. Fluids and Oils Inspections

Check all fluids, including the following:

  • Defrosting system
  • Oils
  • Transmission fluid
  • Wiper fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid

3. Brakes Inspection

A brake inspection includes:

  • Checking the emergency brake
  • Measuring and replacing brakes pads if they are under a certain width
  • Reviewing the entire brake system

4. Lights Inspection

Be sure you check all your lights, including:

  • License plate illumination
  • Emergency flashers
  • Reverse lights
  • Turn signals
  • High and low beams
  • Tail lights and brake lights

5. Wheels and Rims Inspection

Inspect all parts of your wheels and rims:

  • Check the availability of tools to change a tire in case of emergency
  • Spare tires
  • Condition of the tires and if there are any cuts or embedded items
  • Wheel alignment
  • Check whether the tire matches the wheel

6. Interior Inspection

You'll also want to inspect the vehicle's interior, including:

  • Availability of an emergency first aid kit, warning triangle, fire extinguisher, and reflective jacket
  • Fan
  • Gauges
  • Seat belts
  • The horn works and is loud enough
  • Air conditioning system

7. Windshield, Back Windows, and Mirror Inspection

Lastly, check windows and mirrors:

  • Inside mirrors
  • Driver and passenger side mirror
  • Wiper system
  • Window control system
  • Integrity of glass

5 Tips for Creating Your Maintenance Checklist

To ensure your maintenance checklist is successful, you must conform to best practices. The following tips can help you make the most out of your maintenance checklist:

1. Include All Vehicle Components

When determining the tasks you need to include in your fleet maintenance checklist, ensure you account for all components of your vehicle. For example, if your commercial fleet contains larger tractor-trailers, ensure your list includes elements from the tractors and trailers. Not examining a particular part may cause your vehicle to be under-maintained and at a greater risk of breaking down.

2. Decide Which Tasks Are Necessary and Which Are Unnecessary

While you want to ensure you do not miss any parts of your commercial truck during the inspection, specific tasks may not be necessary and can be costly. For example, replacing tires is often more efficient than rotating them. A few ways to determine which duties are essential and which are unnecessary is to ask:

  • What expenses are we trying to prevent?
  • Would the cost of the required work be more than the loss it is preventing?

3. Designate Specific Tasks

Determining who should perform each task is just as important as deciding which items to include on your maintenance checklist. Your drivers can handle many tasks themselves, while other jobs may require a professional. For example, drivers can complete a daily vehicle inspection report (DVIR), but more complex maintenance requires a technician. Regardless of who performs each task, having a designated checklist will aid in the process and ensure they do not miss any crucial aspects.

4. Organize Checklists by Frequency

Each task has its own timeline for completion, which may help you organize your checklists by frequency. For example, daily checks will have a separate list from weekly commercial truck maintenance. Additionally, you can do some jobs together, such as checking the transmission fluid and the oil simultaneously, to save time during inspections.

5. Create a Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Pre-Service

While you may think of preventative maintenance as a recurring task you perform throughout the life span of your vehicle, it is also vital to inspect new and used trucks when they arrive in your lot. Creating a pre-service checklist can help you detect any issues with your vehicle before they're on the road and log important vehicle information to speed up the process of ordering replacements later.

Ensure you meet standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Benefits of a Commercial Truck Maintenance Checklist

Regular maintenance ensures your business transports goods, services, and products as planned. Having a required maintenance checklist also ensures drivers and personnel can verify their commercial truck meets safety standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Some of the business benefits of a checklist for commercial truck maintenance include the following:

  • Reduction of maintenance and repair costs
  • Reduction in operating costs due to fewer breakdowns
  • Reduction of insurance costs
  • Increase in the residual value of a vehicle
  • Extension of a vehicle's life
  • Asset protection
  • Improved fuel consumption and reduction of cost
  • Reduction of downtime
  • Increase in customer and client satisfaction

You will also experience safety benefits such as:

  • Increased driver safety
  • Meeting required safety standards
  • Greater road safety
  • Increased passenger safety
  • Improvement of driver working environment

Partner with Thompson Truck Source

Partner With Thomson Truck Source Today

At Thomson Truck Source, we help your company stay productive with comprehensive vehicle maintenance. From essential care to a complete engine replacement, our expert technicians can diagnose problems faster to help you get your trucks back on the road. To learn more about our parts or service offerings, please contact our team at 205-583-0839 or complete our online contact form!